“Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue.”
After the first presidential debate in Denver, things got really bizarre or fascinating: suddenly a boisterous, um, debate began online, on television, and over watercoolers across the country not just about the candidates’ performances but the man tasked with refereeing the candidates, lifelong journalist and longtime PBS broadcaster, a man moderating his twelfth Presidential debate, Jim Lehrer. We wanted to know what it felt like to draw the ire of the left, so long his fans, who felt that Romney ran roughshod over him. And we wanted to know how it felt to have the praise of Sean Hannity and others at the other end of the political spectrum. We wanted to know what would he do differently. And what advice he has for Candy Crowley and Bob Schieffer, who’ll be officiating the last two debates. So we called him at his home in Washington DC to find out:
GQ: Will you watch the next debates?
Jim Lehrer: Oh sure, absolutely I’m going to watch all the debates.
GQ: What’s your advice for the moderator of the other debates?
Jim Lehrer: Oh, it’s always the same for everybody: just remember that it isn’t about you. If you can do that, you’re 99 percent there. Moderators should stand up in front of a mirror and say “It’s not about me; it’s not about me; it’s not about me; it’s not about me” so you don’t—because what’s so easy, particularly in a single-moderator format—it’s like holding dynamite in your hands. You have a lot of power.
GQ: I wonder if you feel that they’re not being asked enough questions in general.
Jim Lehrer: Well, probably. Probably so. I’ll tell you: my frustration, to be specific, on Wednesday night and speaking of questions, was because things did run over, there were a lot of questions that I was going to ask that I didn’t get to. Not questions so much as subjects I was going to get to, and I was not able to do that.
When I stepped into the Chipotle there was a blast of spiced air, which reminded me of a Park Hyatt resort in Mexico. The lighting was moody and dim, like hope in America. When I reached the counter, the woman who typically readies my order two or three times a week flashed me a familial smile and said, “Hello! How are you today?” I pretended not to know her. “I’ll take a burrito bowl with rice and black beans and…” (Vegetables? Did he order vegetables? I couldn’t remember. Fuck.) I panicked, “Vegetables.” Frantically I scrolled down my phone. He hadn’t ordered vegetables. This could be the gaffe that changes the entire direction of the piece. “Sir,” I addressed the next person on the counter assembly line, trying to recover. “Could you please remove all of those vegetables from my bowl?” He graciously acquiesced, plucking out stray greens with his fingers, but in his rush, he missed more than a few onions. “How long have you had this job?” I inquired.
I received a plentiful portion of pork, and a dollop of hot sauce. (“Not too much!” I warned, putting a palm over my pale abdomen.) “Oh, and I’ll have guacamole,” I added. “That’ll be $1.25 extra, ok?” the woman told me holding a scoop approximately the size of a four-month-old fetus over my bowl. “I will accept that additional charge,” I replied confidently, remembering the size of my fictional bank account.
When it was finished and ready to purchase, the bowl Iordered looked beautiful. I held it up, extending it out from my chest like Rafiki hoisting Simba to the sun, and proclaimed to the line of workers: “You built this! YOU, YOU, and YOU. YOU BUILT IT! And I’m going to eat it!” No response. “This is what America’s about!” I added emphatically. The cashier before me seemed confused, “Is there something wrong with your order, Miss?”
“No,” I replied with a smile, “it looks very good.”
Before tonight’s Presidential Debate kicks off, go behind the scenes with Robert Draper to meet the men behind the men, the army of strategists who use dark-arts trickery and clever gamesmanship that could ultimately determine the next leader of the free world.
A female works through her very desirable female vote:
I JUST DON’T KNOW YOU GUYS!!!!!!! By my tally—which could be inaccurate because you know what happens when you put women and numbers in the same room (haha, actually, I’m not sure what happens! But that just goes to show why you never, ever put women and numbers in the same room)—Mitt Romney said “women” 45 times during his convention speech, while Barack Obama only mentioned “women” 31 times. Neither of them mentioned cats or The Bachelor. Hmmph :(
They both had Moms they really liked, which is obviously one of my top issues! I’m not a Mom yet, but believe you me, when I am, I’m going to make everyone call me Mom first and foremost. Like the checkout kid at the grocery store, “That’ll be $62.91, Mom.” Or my dear gynecologist Dr. Bernowitz, “Could you schooch down a little closer to the end, Mom?” My husband, for sure, will call me Mom around the clock! I get a 50 Shades of Gray-esque tingle down there (you know what I mean, ladies!!) just imagining him whispering in my ear, “Mom, you want to head up to the master bedroom?”
The rest here.